Sunday, November 29, 2015

North Greece wine region physical environment vis a vis the W-MEA Model

I recently toured the North Greece wine region at the invitation of Wines of North Greece as part of a 2015 Digital Wine Communications Conference Pre-Conference Press Trip. An overview of the trip itinerary and some aspects of the environment were reported on previously.

Subsequent to the trip I submitted a comprehensive questionnaire to the wineries (through North Greece Wines) in order to collect data that would allow me to assess the wine environment against the Wine -- Mise en abyme (W-MEA) model. I developed this model as part of my assessment of grapevine needs and the best practices for effectively meeting those needs. The model is depicted below.

When complete, the assessment of the North Greece environment will have covered all three of the major components captured in the picture above. Today's post covers the physical (site) environment.

Of the 13 questionnaires submitted, six responses have been received. This is a fairly high rate of response (especially given the level of detail required in the responses) and is, no doubt, a reflection of the great working relationship between Wines of North Greece and its member wineries. I fully expect to continue receiving responses post-publication and will modify the reporting to reflect any new data so gained.

I have aggregated the responses into a regional composite in order to simplify the assessment as well as to protect any data that may be confidential to the responding wineries. The assessment follows with the leftmost column showing the elements, the second column showing the "best-practice" metric, the third column showing the composite North Greece metric, and the final column providing comments where I feel they are merited.

Model Element
North Greece Wines Metric
Marine west coast; Mediterranean
Mediteranean; Continental; 
Variety of climate modifiers to include lakes, mountains, and seas
Average Temp (℃)
15 - 19
12.4 - 21.33

Degree days

> 1750

2114 (average)

500 m/yr for cool region; 750 m/yr for hotter region
519 m
Deficits made up by irrigation


At or near 
highest feasible point; within thermal belt

90 - 720 m

-moderate incline

0 - 70%

Southern for cool regions; north, east, northeastern for continental climes

South; north; southeast

Convex; concave
Concave slopes can become cold pools with potential negative effects for fruit and vine
> 5.08 cm/hr drainage; 
0 - 25.4 cm/cm of soil of water-holding capacity

Well-drained; medium water-holding capability

Soil texture
sandy loam
Sandy clay loam, sandy loam, loam, sandy, sandy clay, limestone

Soil color
Primarily red-brown; some limited white

Soil effective rooting depth

> 1 m
< 2m; one case of 3 - 4 m

Nutrient availability
Medium; monitor with soil and leaf analysis

Soil pH
6 - 6.8
5 - 8

Soil organic matter

1 - 3%
0.8 - 2.5%

Soil toxic material


Pests/ Diseases
Phylloxera and nematodes 
assumed in 
most soils
Plasmopara viticola, downy mildew, powdery mildew, botrytis cinera, Esca syndrome, lobesia botrana, Grapevine fanleaf virus, leafroll, flavescence doree (Chardonnay)

There are no "show-stoppers" in the siting of the North Greece vineyards. As a matter of fact, all the base ingredients are present for the production of high-quality fruit.

Soil pH below 6 and above 7 is not preferred as those soils tend to have less-than-optimal levels of nutrients and micro-organisms. Soils falling outside of those ranges will require treatment to rectify shortcomings.

Elevation and slope are both important for air and water drainage with the potential for cold air pockets to develop during late spring in concave-shaped vineyards.

Subsequent posts will cover the built environment and vineyard management practices.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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